The TA

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  • The TA
  • lister11
    Member

    Hi,

    Very off topic.

    I’m a physio working in the Farnborough area. Have a long term girlfriend but some years off kids. I’m also 30. Recently been looking into the TA.

    Originally I looked at the RAF reserves (regiment) towards Oxford but the 5 year commitment put me off – still not 100% settled here in England and would like the option to pull out and move abroad if required with only a few months notice (lady is considering law firms abroad).

    So, that leaves the local TA. I undersatnd the time commitments I think and my employer would be on board. I also understand that when eventually mobilised the option of leaving is off the table and I may be gone for up to a year.

    Local to me here is the Farnham and Camberley company, mortar and rifles respectively, which I have had initial contact with. Would be looking at regular soldier, not officer as yet.

    The point of this, lengthy, post is to seek any 1st hand experiences of the TA generally or, even better, my local company. Is there are large difference in roles between the two? Are the stated time commitments realistic or do they require/expect more than week night training with 1 weekend a month (plus the 2 weeker)?

    Not sure what id ike to know as I don’t know much!

    Cheers

    TooTall
    Member

    As they are expanding the reserve forces, it is likely to get a good bit more serious in the coming years as they become more involved with regular duties. They are also less likely to take on people who can’t / won’t sign up for a full commitment – this has already started in a lot of units.

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    Its a commitment and will take over your weekends and a chunk of midweek.
    Some great people in the TA and these days its not an IF but a WHEN you get deployed.

    If you can make the time and want a new and armed circle of very close friends then go for it.

    Premier Icon plumslikerocks
    Subscriber

    Looking back on my life when I had fewer ties, I kind of wish I’d done this or something like it. Not necessarily from being some kind of army-mad weapons fantasist, but just a way to broaden horizons, keep fit and learn transferable skills.

    No chance these days, though!

    lister11
    Member

    Too tall – when you mention ‘a full commitment’ do you mean the stated days and eventually mobilisation or is there a minimum service I’ve missed?

    Like I said, not specifically planning to leave but it needs to be an option.

    plumslikerocks – that’s what started me thinking. I’ve no commitments and have been a touch bored since starting work here. Prior to this I was a raft guide in Austria. UK physio doesnt quite keep me as entertained.

    Thanks for the reply so far guys.

    It is certainly not the gentlemen’s drinking club it used to be. One drill night a week, weeks camp in the summer and the odd weekend, if I remember correctly. As others have said, with the downsizing of the regulars, the reserves (TA) will be called on to do that much more. There is also a likelihood that the TA will get better equipment, on a par with the regulars which some say proves something. Quite what happens post Afghanistan is yet to be decided plus there are also a lot more changes coming to the army which will have an impact on the TA.

    I’ve been looking at the TA for a while too. In no position to join currently as I’m sick as, but can anyone confirm/deny the facts on employment and the TA.

    Are employers required by law to accommodate your TA activities if you join and they have no legal reason to sack you?

    Obviously some bosses will frown upon it and others not – but do you have to be working part time? Or can you join the TA with a full time job and your employer has to give you a day a week for training or whatever?

    Have heard rumours from friends and family suggesting both but nothing concrete… so some clarity would be much appreciated. *sorry to hijack thread op but this might be relevant to you too?*

    oldgit
    Member

    Some great people in the TA and these days its not an IF but a WHEN you get deployed.

    Very true. You’d be surprised at the amount of people that can’t see the connection between active service and being in the TA.
    Spent time with the Queens Infantry. And the troubles in NI were a constant reminder that the Regiment was very real and not Dads Army.
    We were trained for a conventional war in Europe. At the time no one could have seen the former Yugoslavia kicking off, but that’s where they ended up. So be prepared.

    AFAIK your company has to honour your time, a sympathetic boss really helps though. Mine was ex RAF and was very supportive.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Are employers required by law to accommodate your TA activities if you join and they have no legal reason to sack you?

    Obviously some bosses will frown upon it and others not – but do you have to be working part time? Or can you join the TA with a full time job and your employer has to give you a day a week for training or whatever?

    The overwhelming majority of the people in the reserve forces have full time jobs; most of the training is done in drill evenings/weekends, so it’s not a matter of ‘a day a week’. Some employers give you extra leave for your two weeks annual camp or equivalent (some even pay you for it) as mine does, but some don’t.

    When I joined (>1 VRSM but <1+bar ago) you didn’t have to tell your employer that you were in the Reserve if you didn’t wish to, but also the last time volunteer reservists (as opposed to regular reservists) had been compulsorily mobilised was in 1950 for Korea. Both of these things have changed. There is no legal obligation on an employer to have reservists, and indeed some will actively discourage you from joining (IIRC GMP/GMFRS have a quota and if the quota is full they will not allow you to join).

    In terms of job protection, Reserve Forces Act ’96 mandates that you must be re-employed in an equivalent post post-demobilisation if you are compulsorily mobilised. How robust this is in a court of law, I don’t know. Also not sure about the five-year minimum term in the RAuxAF; AFAIK RFA96 allows you to resign with no notice (as, for various complicated legal reasons related to lack of pension etc, volunteer reservists are classed as casual labour).

    Andy

    lister11
    Member

    Also not sure about the five-year minimum term in the RAuxAF; AFAIK RFA96 allows you to resign with no notice (as, for various complicated legal reasons related to lack of pension etc, volunteer reservists are classed as casual labour).

    Hmmm, this sounds like something I need to look at further – just a touch difficult to get a firm 100% answer from recruiters etc when asking more obscure questions.

    For the thread hijacker……the SABRE website has alot of useful employer info.

    My employer allows an extra week annual leave and a week unpaid for the 2 week training per year. We also have a large full time military staff number working as Drs etc so the trust are fully behind it.

    http://www.sabre.mod.uk/

    Premier Icon santacruzsi
    Subscriber

    i was in the TA for about 5 years and enjoyed it, met loads of new friends, new skills, done new things, adventure training, driving HGV’s, got fitter, drank some beer, got paid a small wage when I was on duty and if you qualified, a tax free bounty. My employer (civil service) was very understanding and allowed me what ever leave I required…I also got paid special leave from my employer. I was put on stand by for a deployment but it never come off. There were plenty of oppoortunities to volunteer to go away. Back then (only 7 yrs ago) there wasn’t much of a chance to be compulsary deployed, but now, as someone above says you will do at some point so you need to bear this in mind. If you get compulsary deployed your employer needs to keep your job open under the Reserve Forces Act where as if you volunteer that is not the case. If you get compulsary deployed i think they should match your civi salary. Check that though.

    But I think due to the expanding nature of the reserve forces, the time you are required will be more than 1 weekend per month and 1 drill night per week, plus 2 week annual camp. That said, its great fun, and i’d recommend it. My job commitments got in the way, so I had to leave, but now i do think of returning.

    Good luck!

    Not wanting to commit may be a problem, used to be once you get notice of deployment leaving could be classed as deserting. But is speak to your local units to clarify, as I’ve been out a few years. As both units are infantry it’ll be a case of when not if deployments happens. You might be better looking for the med corps so you can use your qualifications.
    Whatever unit you choose you’ll meet a great bunch of people on the whole an have many amazing times. Goodluck.

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    Whatever unit you choose you’ll meet a great bunch of people on the whole an have many amazing times. Goodluck.

    This is true.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    We also have a large full time military staff number working as Drs etc so the trust are fully behind it.

    That depends on the NHS Trust. Most of them are very supportive of the reserves; however, I’ve heard through the grapevine that one or two (specifically one of the ones which has an embedded MoD Hospital Unit) may not be – understandably, if it all kicks off and they lost all their military staff, they don’t want to lose a load of reservist staff too. The majority of public sector employers are supportive; as I posted above there are caveats to that in the case of police/fire services.

    If you get compulsary deployed i think they should match your civi salary.

    Correct but depends on how badly they need you. There are limits per rank as to what the MoD will pay. They are clearly not going to match a city barrister’s salary for you to stand on the brow with a rifle as an AB, but if you bring specialist skills they need and can’t otherwise get I gather these can be flexible.

    Not wanting to commit may be a problem, used to be once you get notice of deployment leaving could be classed as deserting

    I think this still stands, though in practice I don’t know how willing they’d be to run someone for this. In any case this is avoidable – while you shouldn’t join if you’re not prepared to go, people’s lives change and if, for short-term reasons, you can’t go at a particular time when called, you (and your employer) may appeal the mobilisation.

    Whatever unit you choose you’ll meet a great bunch of people on the whole an have many amazing times. Goodluck.

    As above, +1

    Andy

    willard
    Member

    A lot of what may be applicable has already been said. However… As a physio, should you wish to consider joining a national unit that specialises in medicine, then the minimum commitment is less than a conventional TA unit (such as infantry). You would still be required to do an annual camp, but you may have a lesser commitment during the week. My unit is national, so I technically only have to do 19 days a year, but for some reason usually end up doing far, far more.

    That said, any TA field hospital would get to roll through Bastion, so you could expect a tour out there if you joined now. Or you might consider 144 Para Med Sqn. Army medics, but para trained. I know a physio in there.

    Go and explore the TA portal on the MoD website. It’s got some very good resources and will list which units are in your area and which ones have the open reqs for your skills. I’m glad I joined, it’s helped me grow a great deal.

    MrFart
    Member

    I spent 5 years in the Royal Logistics Corps whilst finishing my A Levels / at Uni and had an almost identical experience to Santacruzi (you weren’t in 158 RLC by any chance?) -it definitely beat working at Tescos! I used to attend about two weekends a month + 1x drill nights per week (plus ski trips, WWII battlefield trips…) and as I was a student quite often went in during the week to act as the permanent staffs’ lackey. I didn’t get mobilized but was put onto ‘notice to move’ a couple of times – this was the late 90s/ early 2000s and things have changed now and the majority of my mates still in have all done active service.

    If you feel you cannot commit to the ‘normal’ TA (I’ve forgotten the proper term…) you can become a specialist where you only spend a 20ish days per year training and you still receive the full bounty (bonus) .

    Rockhopper
    Member

    When I mobilised through Chilwell a couple of years ago now they made it clear that your civvy wage would be matched regardless of your Army job (up to £250k a year), infact they stated that your civvy salary isn’t even considered when they decide to mobilize you.

    On that subject TA haven’t been compulsorily mobilized for many years now. They have “intelligent mobilisation” which means that they ask you if you want to mobilise, if you say yes then they compulsorily mobilise you. It saves them time and money as many civilian employers appeal their workers call up and most appeals are won. Plus if you volunteer (without being called up) they wouldn’t match your salary so it helps you if they do it that way.

    As regards your employer giving you time off for TA duty, at the moment they are under no legal obligation to give you any extra time off. Indeed many employers consider the TA to be a part time job and under the terms of your contract of employment you may be prohibited from joining (or be made to leave if you are already in). Unfortunately the TA now inform your employer that you have joined so its not possible to keep it secret these days!

    I’m a member of a specialist unit so I do fifteen days continuous training plus two weekends (minimum) a year for my bounty. At lot more days are on offer though if you want them. My Boss says he values every single one of us no matter how many days we do a year (above the minimum), that means there is no pressure to attend if work gets in the way for example.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    They have “intelligent mobilisation” which means that they ask you if you want to mobilise, if you say yes then they compulsorily mobilise you. It saves them time and money as many civilian employers appeal their workers call up and most appeals are won.

    I think technically they ask you if there is any reason why you can’t mobilise; asking you if you want to mobilise is akin to asking you to volunteer = no protection from RFA96.

    Not in the TA so can’t comment but the at least one of the other two reserve services have had compulsory mobilisation with failed appeals.

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    Rockhopper’s the closest to the truth with “intelligent mobilisation”. To start – 5 years in the TA and now in to year 13 in the Regular Army, my current post is behind a desk where I’m repsonsible for trawling for and initiating mobilisation of Reservists.

    It is very much NOT a case of “not IF but WHEN”, especially now as things are rapidly drawing down in Afghanistan, and even if it were, Infantry soldiers would not be top of the list – it is in the pinchpoint and specialist trades where true compulsory mobilisation is exercised. Elsewhere, it is done on a voluntary basis to fill gaps in the ORBAT.

    “Intelligent mobilisation” is still compulsory mobilisation though, it’s simply a mechanism of avoiding costly appeals by using “volunteers”.

    Bear in mind, as has been mentioned, there is shortly to be a massive TA recruitment drive (in the New Year) and the Terms and Conditions of Service will be changed soon to reflect the increased commitment that will be expected. In terms of employment of the TA the MoD is looking to the Americans’ National Guard as a model, i.e. formed sub units will be mobilised to deploy. Equipment levels and funding will also be increased to bring the TA much closer in line with the Regular Army and partnering in training will become the routine – there is currently a pilot programme due soon that will partner TA units with Regular units and the TA unit will participate in the Regulars’ larger scale exercises, etc. Available Man Traing Days will also be increased to reflect the extra training, the current is 27 MTDs per soldier, expected to rise to 40.

    Summary though, I was in an Infantry TA unit at the tail end of the drinking club days but spent plenty of time on ex with our Regular Battalion and volunteered for a tour of Bosnia (although didn’t go in the end). I had a great time, earned some extra cash and it broadened my horizons no end; fortunately my employer at the time was on side as well…

    lister11
    Member

    Thanks all.

    Some great advice. Particularly the news about increasing commitments.

    I’m heading to the local head quarters tomorrow night to speak to the chap in charge and fill in medical forms.

    Any advice on things to ask/know so not to look a clown?

    wrecker
    Member

    Any advice on things to ask/know do not to look a clown?

    Ask when you get your “gun” and if you can take it home. They’ll be dead impressed with that.

    More seriously; listen first. Only ask questions if they’ve not covered something you need to know.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Only ask questions if they’ve not covered something you need to know.

    Remember, as one of the SNCOs told us when I joined, there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people.

    Sui
    Member

    Employment + Op’s + wife/gf/bf + family do not go well.

    Your employer is under no obligation to assist you with training and, when it does come to OP’s if you go for 13 months you can bet your life that your epmloyer (and some Wives/GF/BF’) will ufck you off when you get back.

    Being in the TA these days is a job for the Unemployed, Self employed or student.

    Don’t get me wrong you can and will get a lot out of it, but it comes with significant problems that are not conducive to your current hobbies, family and work life.

    edit to add ; don’t join such a pansy regiment 😀 you’ve got 144 para med down your neck of the woods.

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    don’t join such a pansy regiment you’ve got 144 para med down your neck of the woods

    Is that like 7 Para… RHA…? In London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Nottingham – hardly close to Farnborough…! But… If you do decide to join 144 (Parachute) Medical Squadron (V), or any other parachute roled TA unit, don’t expect to becessarily be doing many jumps in the near future due to lack of availability of jumps courses – there are soldiers in the Regular Para battalions who’ve been out of basic training and completed P Company getting on for 2 years who’ve yet to do their jumps courses and qualify for their wings…

    Ive been in the TA for just over 4 years now,Royal signals.

    I have a fully understanding girlfriend, a full time job -40/60 hours a week and 3 bikes.

    I always put my civvy job first, if i can get home in time for a midweek drill night, then i go. if i cant then i let my troop sgt know im not coming and no more is said.

    I try and get on every training weekend thats on, leave on a friday night and return on sunday afternoon. usually 1-2 weekends per month.

    Some people only turn up once a month and again no one minds as they all know everyone has a life outside of work.

    Every month i take home £200-300 from the TA which is all money i spend on my bikes, I do feel bad as i dont get to spend enough time with my bikes but i dont think they mind as they always get new shiny things.

    My missus has horses so shes out the house more then me and that suits me fine.

    In march im going snowboarding in Austria for 2 weeks with the Army, and im getting paid to go!

    Ive not been on tour yet but im ready to go when i get called up, i volunteered for afghan this year didnt have the required trade.

    Id reccomend anyone joining as long as u have a bit of go in u as it opens up a load of oppurtunitys and u get to meet so many different people.

    Just get and get running NOW to get through basic training, once u done basic u can sit on your arse and just train to pass the fitness tests once a year when its bounty time (thats what a lot tent to do)

    Good luck

    wrecker
    Member

    131 Commando RE in Kingsbury.
    Royal Marine Reserves in Henley on Thames.

    willard
    Member

    It’s true that there are going to be a fair few units of all sorts in the OP’s locale, but I maintain that he would be better advised to apply to a unit that will make the best use of his skills, hence the suggestion of a medical unit. 144 Para Med was there because the ones I have met and trained with are good people.

    Purely from a selfish point of view, this would allow the Army to make the best use of his specialist skills and would also allow him to hit the ground running with regard to “working” within the Army. Yes, there would be a fair bit of catching up to do for mil skills, but that comes with time.

    As for squaring things with work and home, I continue to be told that the correct way to think of things is “Home, Work, TA”. If something comes up at home, I will cancel work stuff or TA tasks and both understand. Similarly, if stuff happens for work, I will cancel TA tasks. Before I started I agreed with my wife that I would allow the TA one [long] weekend a month and a two week or so stint a year. That would allow them to count on me for about 35-40 days a year and, by and large, I’ve stuck to that.

    pjm84
    Member

    I use to be a Rubber at London Detachment.

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    If you want to make use of your medical qualifications you’d be as well looking at 256 Field Hospital, who have a detachment in Kingston-upon-Thames, which is, IIRC, a Nationally Recruited unit, meaning a reduced trainig commitment of 19 days a year. You’ll also gain valuable additional specific medical experience that’ll help your civvy CV.

    lister11
    Member

    Hi,

    Thanks again for all the info.

    I had considered, and have gone ahead with, making enquires regarding a physio role in the regulars. I’ve been told that there is nothing till at least 2014.

    I’ve also been told that there is no role for TA physio at this time.

    I could obviously make use of my medical training by looking at this area of the TA but I think I’d rather do something completely different. Either way would be a benifit to any future FT applications if they were made.

    Luke I said, I’m off down to farnham tonight so will see how that pans out.

    Premier Icon santacruzsi
    Subscriber

    MrFart – i was in the RLC 156 Transport Regt at mather Ave in Liverpool…think i left in 2008? I cant recall when i left or what the sister regiments were?

    wheelz
    Member

    I was the PSI (regular army attached to the TA) with a TA unit around about the time that the TA were being transformed from a drinking club into real support for the regular forces. For many, including the PSIs, it was a painful and difficult transition, but all the “dead wood” was cleared out and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable tours I did with the army.

    I was based near/in London and we recruited mostly from the city and the surrounding area. Some of the people in the Squadron had very well paid jobs, with a lot of responsibility and a requirement to put in considerable hours.

    A lot of the TA people I worked with ended up volunteering to be deployed with the regulars and did a good job. What always amazed me was their dedication to the TA whilst holding down regular jobs; a lot of them were more dedicated than the regulars I’d worked with previously. I made some good friends in the TA and left there with a new found respect for the “part timers”.

    The decision to join shouldn’t be taken lightly, as the commitments are many, but you seem to be doing the right thing by asking for advice from those that are, or have been, in the TA.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

    Premier Icon giantonagiant
    Subscriber

    DaveTrave, Backtothetop and willard speak much sense.

    There has been a period of busyness for the TA (esp the trades, but even for the infanteers that are happy to deploy), but with the drawdown in Afghanistan, even with the increased reliance on Reserve Forces, the requirement to mobilise will drop right off.

    I actually think it’s not a bad time to get involved; you’ll have to do ‘Phase 1’ training within your Btn / Bgde, before heading off for ‘Phase 2’ at Catterick (assuming you go Infantry). This will all take time: waiting for a training cycle to start, then bidding / getting a phase 2 slot. I’d be surprised if you were ready to / they’d want you to deploy within the next 12 – 18 months.

    By that time the ‘opportunities’ available to deploy will be ever further reduced, but with the increased funding that the TA / Army Reserve is set to get, there should be some good exercises / AT / courses to get involved in.

    Give it a go. Worse thing that can happen is that you don’t like it and hand your kit back. Be honest with yourself and the guys training you. If you’re NFI, tell them so, hand kit in, paperwork done and everyone is happy. If you just stop turning up and have a load of kit signed for, it gets a bit tedious, because you may well end up getting chased.

    Another good resource is ARSSE. There’s loads of stuff on there and people asking similar questions to yours. Just be prepared for a slightly less friendly approach than here (the ‘banter’ is set to 11).

    Edit: And what wheelz said.

    big_n_daft
    Member

    RLC 156 Transport Regt at mather Ave in Liverpool…

    The (former?) home of Roddy Monk, scarey man!!!

    I’d have a look at the unit and ask (lot’s) of questions including:

    what is the training
    how often does the unit exercise in the field?
    how many ex regulars are there?
    what is the ratio of admin weekends to “shooting” weekends
    do they have sports teams (football, rugby etc)
    what’s the age profile?
    what adventure training do they do?
    what specialist training will you have access to?
    what training is happening for the trained soldiers on the nights you are attending? or is it just kit polishing?
    Notice boards: Are there training plans up on the notice boards? is the planned training happening or getting cancelled for admin (moving chairs etc) are they asking for people to do adventure training, sports etc?

    there are two types of unit, ones that look like they are no different to the regulars and ones where they are “admin” focused with minimal time spent training

    who let’s you in at the gate? (if it’s a TA soldier, that will be you in 6 months, “stag on, stag off”

    if the officers/ SNCO’s are all old and fat and disinterested walk away

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Just one more point regarding mobilisation, I’ve been in for seven years now and no one in my unit has been forced to mobilise. There are regular opportunities to go if you want but no one has been required (or put under any pressure) to do so.

    We are required to provide a 10% supplement to our regular element but we are usually closer to 15% simply through more people volunteering than there are places to fill.

    Without giving too much away we are one of the only units in the Army that have a regular and TA element.

    Premier Icon santacruzsi
    Subscriber

    Big n Daft…yes he was there when I was, but not sure if he still is now!

    Premier Icon davetrave
    Subscriber

    If you’ve decided to look at the Regular Army for employment as a Physio in the future I can put you in touch with a fellow MTBer who’s a current Army, as opposed to Civvy employed by the Army, physio who I’m sure would be happy to give you some more flesh to the bones of prospects in the RAMC. Drop me an email if you want (addy in profile).

    PS If you do join the TA you can join the Army Cycling Union – all sorts of advantages and extras to be had that way, not least of which are regular weekends away using Army facilities (and hence free/minimal cost) in Ambleside, Snowdonia, etc, etc… Same applies to any of the other TA blokes on this thread. Drop me a line to my email address (in profile) if you’re interested/want more info (I’m on the ACU Executive Committee as the Cyclocross Secretary but have previously been the MTB Sec as well…).

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